Antonio Conte's tactical innovations continue and reap further rewards against Bournemouth.
Chelsea beat Bournemouth on Boxing Day 3-0 to make it twelve wins in a row but it was yet another example of Antonio Conte's tactical...
Chelsea beat Bournemouth on Boxing Day 3-0 to make it twelve wins in a row but it was yet another example of Antonio Conte's tactical innovations that deserve plenty of plaudits.
Now I for one had Michy Batshuayi and Cesc Fabregas to start in the game as replacements for the suspended Diego Costa and N'Golo Kante. An hour before kick off and to my surprise, it was announced that Willian, Pedro and Eden Hazard would form our attacking three.
Some people call it a "False Nine" but to me it's more than that as demonstrated in this one. All three players had a licence to roam in those areas with one of them becoming the focal point of the attack at any time and it caused Bournemouth so many problems.
We had seen previous attempts by different managers to adopt the same approach without the desired effect, if anything those attempts were failures in my eyes and never came close to making it successful until now. The movement and pace of the front three is staggering and it's only when you see it first hand inside the stadium that you realise just how devastating it is. At every single opportunity when we win the ball back and move it forward quickly, our opposition have a real problem on their hands and cannot cope with our pace, with our tempo and how quickly we pass the ball around in that area at times. Everton were on the receiving end and now Bournemouth the same.
It would have been tempting to start with Batshuayi up top to have strength as a focal point rather than pace and movement but when you see what the latter gives you, there is no doubt about the decision that Antonio Conte has made. At the moment, everything he touches turns to gold including Pedro.
Pedro has been sensational and is finally re-creating the form we would sit and watch in La Liga for Barcelona. When he is playing like he is with confidence and scoring goals then at times he is unstoppable. His finish with his left foot in this one was another demonstration of sublime finishing giving the Goalkeeper no chance. The deflected effort for his second and our third goal was just reward for attacking the opposition right to the last minute in the game rather than sit on the two-goal lead we had.
After such a disastrous season last term, it really is such a delight to witness some of the football we are playing now and it's everything you ask for from your team. You want to be tight at the back, to not concede goals but to score plenty and that's what we have been doing in this twelve game run. Credit must also go to Thibaut Courtois who produced two fantastic saves to deny Bournemouth to retain our clean sheet.
Chelsea were amazing for periods in this game and fully deserved the win. Bring on Stoke!